Oakland, California’s Communique released its debut LP the same month Ronald Reagan died. It’ll be Reagan’s death that people will remember, but Communique’s Poison Arrows mirrors aspects of the eighties that were forgotten until, like Reagan, they were mentioned again.
Although the album runs ten short tracks, Communique creates a well-unified indie-rock album that avoids becoming monotonous. Throughout Poison Arrows, urgency and yearning thrives in both the driving keyboards and Rory Henderson’s belting vocals. Multiply the love-conquers-all theme of the songs and you have yourself the 2004 reincarnation of Duran Duran.
That being said, this album is one for this millennium. Today, it’s formulaic to fuse punk into pop, and Communique, comprised of former members of American Steel, shows they can be brought together to make quality pop music, similar to the beefy dance vibes of the Killers. At various points in the album, Henderson’s vocals unexpectedly take on an almost snotty punk edge. The moments are short but powerful. This LP is polished, but it still gets people up and on their feet.
Still, Poison Arrows isn’t as sharp as it ought to be. The melodies at times rival those of the Shins; at other times they’re messy, especially when the group attempts to go from verse to chorus. But these flaws are forgivable in light of the album’s strengths. Kind of sounds like Reagan, don’t it?